Wake Up Call: It’s the end of the world as we know it.

Wake Up Call:  It’s the end of the world as we know it

Kay Rice

You know those dreams you wake up from that are like a bad ‘Alice in Wonderland’ movie and it takes you a few moments to realize it was only a dream?  Well, this has been one of those weeks, but it has not been a dream.  This week has been quite the wake up call.

It started 4 1/2 days ago with a storm that ripped through central Ohio.  The news swears it was “straight winds”, I still say there was something more, as I swear I saw a few flying monkeys go by the window at 5PM on Friday June 29, 2012.

There we were sitting in the dark peering out the window to see if we could see any damage, oh did I mention we live in an apartment complex in the city?  My wonderful husband and I decided to venture out and see what we could see.  Enter here that proverbial ‘oh dang we just fell down that rabbit hole!’  We realized as we saw traffic, lights out, the back fence gone and cop cars everywhere that this was going to be a bad day.

Well in short, the entire street of electrical lines decided to retire, as in come tumbling down the entire 2 mile stretch.  All at once, leaving cars and people trapped, one car in the soy-bean field, and some people injured.  Our neighboring complex was cut off from civilization leaving our parking lot their only avenue of travel to walk to and from their homes.  All I can say is that it looked like the Zombie Apocalypse had finally stepped out of fiction and into reality.

The one thing I can say is that I am very grateful that I paid attention every time I’ve gone camping, been to camp, and the stuff I learned as a kid out in the country.  I am grateful for a husband who also did the same.  However, even though I realize that we know what to do to keep the stuff in the freezer from melting in 95 degree weather w/o power, it has since dawned on me that few others actually do.  This got me to thinking about how we have a society have de-evolved due to our reliance of technology.  How scary is it that we don’t know how to function in the moment of an emergency?  How we get that deer-in-the-headlight look in our eyes when we are faced with no air-conditioning, no computers, no TV?

I have come to realize that so few even have an emergency kit within reach with the bare necessities such as a flash light (WITH BATTERIES THAT WORK), candles, a working radio (again with batteries that WORK), extra batteries, and a few non cooking needed snacks, OH and an old-fashioned non-electric can opener.  It wasn’t until one neighbor saw us cooking dinner on our grill that their light-bulb came on and realized they had a grill too.   Panic, it’s our worse enemy isn’t it?

Even as we arrive at day four (4), yes, day 4, of no electricity, and still being told we are looking at another four days more, we are surviving pretty well with camp-stove made coffee in the mornings and grilled goodies from the ice cooler in the evenings.  The one thing that gets to me, ice-cold showers.  Yes, in an apartment complex EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING is electric.  This in one word:  SUCKS.  Because here’s something you don’t think of, apartment complex water heaters, ARE NOT BIG, and yes they are electric!  At least ours is.

But it could be worse and it has made me very grateful for everything in my life.  So there is no internet, there is no TV, there is me and my wonderful, fantastic husband and lots and lots of scrabble & Rummi-kube by candle-light.  But I sit here and continue to be amazed on how so many people go scrambling because they are unprepared and don’t even have the knowledge on how to be prepared for short or long-term.

For me simple things like writing, which keeps my sanity, can be helped along with those old-fashioned devices known as pen and paper, okay and then like today the iPhone does help, but lets face it, when the battery goes, it goes.  Anyway, writing, it’s amazing how when you are left alone with paper and pen and your thoughts what manages to come out.  For me it is this:  How would my life change if the power didn’t come back on?  How in the heck did we survive without air conditioning, and I know I did as a kid.  Can you imagine living without a refrigerator, a freezer?  Without the use of credit cards?  Without the TV news crews to tell you when to expect the emergency to be over?  How could our kids be entertained without TV or music videos?  (Yes this is sarcasm.)

I know that this has brought my husband and I even closer together, where I see it has torn others apart.  It’s amazing, when you have time to talk and nothing else to take your attention, you can really talk and enjoy each other, even if you are sweating in a sauna of an apartment with no breeze.  It’s amazing how precious that glass of luke-warm water becomes with each drink.  It’s amazing how much you appreciate a small breeze that manages to come through the window in the evening.  And most of all how wonderful that no matter how hot it is, the warmth of holding hands is still wanted and welcomed.

So in this time of chaos, I have had one huge wake up call.  Life, no matter how it comes, is wonderful.  There is beauty in every day, and it becomes sweeter when it doesn’t come easy.

Stay cool, stay smart, and learn to love & give comfort to each other.

Kay Rice

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